I once filled in for a Pastor who had a beard. His church was a bit upset with him about something and over lunch, two little ladies wanted me to point them to that passage that declares Pastors should not have facial hair… stop searching, it isn’t in there. Neither does the Bible address the issue of sleeves, but it does encourage us to be in touch with people by having a shepherd’s heart.
Let me start from the end… In order to be effective, you need to influence people. You can’t influence people if you’re emotionally closed off, so you have to open up and wear your feelings on your sleeves. When you wear your feelings on your sleeves, you’re going to get hurt, which is the necessary risk you have to take to influence people. Shepherds feel pain often, CEO’s don’t… at least not as much.
Here’s another thought. If you’re going to wear your feelings on your sleeves, wear long sleeves. One of the most destructive forces wreaking havoc on ministries is an uncontrolled temper. If you’re not careful, you’ll snap to judgment and react in anger. The necessary counterpart to compassionate ministry is patience with people… so wear long sleeves, be long-suffering.
We’re hopefully growing past the old idea that the Pastor should remain in a defensible ivory tower, but we still need to be tender too. Now… don’t criticize me for writing this!